With a string of multi-million dollar verdicts, including a Missouri record $160 million judgment in a railroad crossing case, Kansas City plaintiff’s lawyer Grant L. Davis has earned a place among the most respected – and feared – lawyers in the state.
What most of Davis’ colleagues don’t know is that he had a previous career as a professional kickboxer. “I was involved in karate in high school, and even more so in college,” Davis said. “I eventually became a black-belt and began participating in karate competitions all over the country.” Drawn to “the fighting part” of karate, Davis took up kickboxing. After a year of competitive fighting, Davis gave it up “because there isn’t a big future in kickboxing.”
Davis’ kickboxing training helped him prepare for trials because he knew he “could throw himself into it.” As a plaintiff’s attorney, righting a wrong is a big motivation. “I look for cases that have some inherent injustice,” Davis said. “It has to be a story that you can tell someone and right off the bat they see that a wrong needs to be righted.”
Davis finds it especially gratifying to “represent children who are injured, or babies who have suffered brain damage. In those kinds of cases, I’m doing something that is good for both society and the children. I love plaintiff’s work. I couldn’t imagine representing a heartless, soulless corporation.”
Davis’ hard work and compassion have led to a number of big wins for his clients. Along with Tom Jones, Davis obtained a $160 million verdict from Union Pacific and Amtrak for a woman who was seriously injured at a railroad crossing. Davis and Scott Bethune won a St. Louis jury verdict of nearly $7 million for a construction worker who suffered a brain injury as a result of an electric shock on the job.
Davis and Bethune also won a $2.75 million jury verdict for a woman who became a paraplegic after a minor car accident when a neurosurgeon failed to perform emergency surgery. Davis and Jones obtained a verdict of $5.25 million from a St. Louis jury for two U.S. Army reservists who died when their helicopter crashed after hitting unmarked power lines. After the verdict was overturned on an appeal by the defense, Davis secured an even larger verdict of $21 million.
For young lawyers interested in following in his footsteps, Davis recommends membership in the Missouri Association of Trial Attorneys. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the help of MATA and the lawyers involved in the organization,” Davis said.
Davis still enjoys working out with friends from his kickboxing days. Before a trial, he remains confident and calm by relying on the lessons he learned as a kickboxer. “Even though there is a lot of talk about trials being scary,” Davis said, “I always know that at least when I try a case, no one is going to smack me.”